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Another state Senate forms inter-party power coalition
Much of the news out of Albany in recent weeks has highlighted the prospect of Democrats crossing the partisan aisle to form a coalition with Republicans to run the state Senate.
Turns out the same kind of thing has been brewing on the other side of the country, in Olympia, Washington. Two states doesn't make for a trend, necessarily, but the parallel is interesting.
From the ‘Olympian’ newspaper on Dec. 11:
Minority Republicans and two Democratic allies grabbed the steering wheel of the state Senate on Monday, announcing a power-sharing arrangement that would put members of their new coalition in the top leadership positions.
Sen. Rodney Tom, a former Republican turned Democrat from Medina, will serve as majority leader, joining Democratic Sen. Tim Sheldon of Potlatch and all 23 Republicans in what they are calling a Majority Coalition Caucus.
“The public out there is hungry for us to come together, to work together in a collaborative manner. That is exactly what this coalition is trying to accomplish. We want a cooperative relationship and making sure we work across party lines,’’ Tom said at a news conference Monday.
But the news came as a rebuff to Senate Democrats’ earlier offer to share power by shrinking their majority to one vote on most committees among other concessions. It is far from clear if the two parties — and the Democrat-controlled House — can work well together or if the takeover is a recipe for gridlock.
There are 26 Democrats in the Senate, and 24 of them remain in the minority caucus, which gave few clues Monday about what it would do next ahead of a 105-day legislative session that starts Jan. 14 in Olympia.